Groups propose $4 billion stimulus to create 24,000 land improvement jobs

Beef Central, 08/04/2020

OVER 70 farming, conservation and land management organisations across the country, including the National Farmers Federation, the Australian Land Conservation Alliance, Landcare and the Invasive Species Council, have written to the Prime Minister and all state Premiers proposing a $4 billion combined federal and state economic stimulus package in the conservation and land management sector.

The proposal would provide jobs to 24,000 workers at its peak to undertake practical conservation activities across Australia such as weed and pest control, river restoration and bushfire recovery and resilience. organisations say that investment in a jobs-rich conservation and land management program could be part of the bridge to recovery for Australia as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

With over 1 million people predicted to be out of work in the coming months, the sector has the capacity to provide recently unemployed people with safe, meaningful and socially beneficial work, while leaving enduring benefits for the environment, tourism and farm businesses.

The organisations have been engaging closely with federal and state policy makers and say that developing this package early will allow for good program design and the opportunity to learn the lessons of past programs.

If funding is committed, then projects can be developed, partnerships formed and positions advertised, so that the program can hit the ground running as social distancing measures are eased.

The jobs would be appropriate for temporarily repurposing existing workforces which are under pressure, including tradespeople and workers in the tourism and small business sectors.  It would also have significant economic multipliers, especially in regional communities, with work generated for local suppliers and hospitality businesses.

“Over the years, conservation and land management organisations have mobilised hundreds of thousands of volunteers and workers,” Landcare Australia chair Doug Humann said.

“In these challenging times, we want to play our part in providing meaningful work for those that need it.

“The conservation and land management sector stand ready to support the delivery of economic stimulus measures once social distancing measures are eased.  Community organisations and the farm sector will be critical in ensuring this rolls out across the landscape.”

“The road to recovery will be a long one, which will require each sector of society to contribute in its own way,” Pepe Clarke, Deputy Director, Outback to Oceans, The Pew Charitable Trusts, said.

“This investment would deliver practical, meaningful work for those that need it, while leaving enduring benefits for the environment.”

“Conservation programs have formed a part of economic recovery programs in the US and Australian since the Great Depression because there’s an enormous amount of valuable work to be done, from bushfire recovery and tree planting to weed control and river restoration.

“Many thousands of people will need support to make a transition back to work and would benefit from practical, hands on jobs like this.”

Practical conservation activities that could be undertaken across public and private land include:

  • a surge in weed control efforts, focussed on containment and preventing cross-tenure spread;
  • river and wetland restoration, including fencing, revegetation and erosion control;
  • national park infrastructure, track maintenance and park management (fire, weeds, feral animals);
  • bushfire recovery and resilience activities, including infrastructure repairs and habitat restoration;
  • invasive animal control, including deer and pigs which impact on farming and threatened species;
  • tree planting and habitat restoration in metropolitan, suburban, peri-urban and rural areas;
  • funding for private land conservation, putting money in the hands of farmers and other land managers;
  • coastal habitat restoration and monitoring, in partnership with the fishing industry and local communities;
  • plastics and marine debris clean up, including research to inform future policy decisions; and
  • funding for Indigenous rangers to deliver jobs directly to vulnerable communities using a proven model.

The groups which have signed the letter include:

  • NRM Regions Australia
  • National Farmers Federation
  • Australian Land Conservation Alliance
  • Landcare Australia
  • Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Australian Conservation Foundation
  • National Landcare Network
  • Field and Game Australia
  • Conservation Volunteers Australia
  • Invasive Species Council
  • WWF-Australia
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Bush Heritage Australia
  • Vertebrate Pest Managers Association of Australia
  • Greening Australia
  • Australian Marine Conservation Society
  • Australian Association of Bush Regenerators
  • Country Needs People
  • Queensland Trust for Nature
  • Nature Foundation SA
  • South Endeavour Trust
  • Tasmanian Land Conservancy
  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy
  • AgForce Queensland
  • NSW Farmers Association
  • Primary Producers SA
  • Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association
  • Victorian Farmers Federation
  • Landcare NSW
  • Queensland Water and Land Carers
  • Landcare SA
  • Landcare NT
  • WA Landcare Network
  • Landcare Tasmania
  • Landcare ACT
  • Nature Conservation Council of NSW
  • Queensland Conservation Council
  • Environment Centre NT
  • Conservation Council WA
  • Conservation Council SA
  • Conservation Council ACT
  • Environment Victoria
  • NRM Regions Queensland
  • Territory NRM
  • Cairns and Far North Environment Centre
  • Environs Kimberley
  • Rainforest Rescue
  • Trees for Life
  • Nature Conservation Society SA
  • Victorian National Parks Association
  • South Coast NRM (WA)
  • South West Catchment Council (WA)
  • Cape York NRM
  • NRM North (Tas)
  • NRM South (Tas)
  • Cradle Coast Authority (Tas)
  • Perth NRM
  • Wheatbelt NRM (WA)
  • Rangelands NRM (WA)
  • Arid Lands Environment Centre
  • Desert Channels Queensland
  • Southern Gulf NRM (Qld)
  • Northern Gulf Resource Management Group (Qld)
  • Southern Queensland Landscapes(Qld)
  • Reef Catchments (Qld)
  • NQ Dry Tropics
  • Burnett Mary Regional Group
  • Healthy Land and Water
  • Fitzroy Basin Association

Click to view the letter and the briefing note.

Source: Jack Gough, National Pastoral Conservation Manager, The Pew Charitable Trusts


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  1. Rosemary Brooks, 01/06/2020

    Such a sensible, well-considered, obvious action. To not implement this would be to waste a golden opportunity.

  2. Meg and Peter Nielsen, 15/05/2020

    Excellent proposal! This is such a practical & visionary proposal for stimulating the economy, provide jobs & get some of the much needed restoration & repair work under way. Our environment is desperately in need of so much work & this is a perfect opportunity.

  3. Phil Cook, 23/04/2020

    Don’t spend a cent until you have list of people prepared to sign a legally binding commitment to do the work and to the required standard. Very few Australians are prepared to sweat.

  4. Max Bryant, 20/04/2020

    As a land holder please keep me informed.

  5. Jennifer Marks, 19/04/2020

    Brilliant Idea, would love to see this come to fruition. Would be so beneficial to the economy, connecting people to the environment, and resolving some of the many environmental challenges and issues that we are faced with today.

  6. Sam, 09/04/2020

    Damn fine work! Let’s hope this goes through. Best of luck.

  7. Will, 09/04/2020

    The health and welfare of Australia’s Human Resources remains its most valuable asset. Imagine if Govt had put a few billion dollars stimulus package into agriculture during the recent droughts? A tonne of wheat, a tonne of barley, a bale of wool or cotton, or a 600 kg Jap Ox or a pen of lambs all represent “New Dollars” created by agriculture represented by a minute % of the workforce. We seem to have failed to get this simple point across adequately to Josh and the Govt. – that Money from Agriculture is Very New Money – it literally grows on trees but you need to look after them – just as we seem to have forgotten that Britain was on food rationing in the forties. The current situation may well have the potential to be the bolt or charge to awaken us all to the real foundation of the country – agriculture?

  8. Luke Hargreaves, 09/04/2020

    Awesome idea, as a private rural supplier we are ready and able to work on logistics for all inputs in our region. We also have capabilities with licensed operators for chemical distribution and control act and staff experienced with project management of vegetation control and rehabilitation works. Happy to engage in any way.

  9. Gerhard Grasser, 08/04/2020

    Let’s hope this becomes the catalyst to get more people back to the land and out of the cities – permanently! Oh, how our ailing country could do with support to ease the ills of the past – especially tree planting.

  10. Matt, 08/04/2020

    When can they start? I have plenty land care jobs to get straight on with.

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